In Cross Country 156 (Nov/Dec 2014) Marcus King takes an EN A paraglider out for a spin in the southern French Alps and flies a mini XC classic, from Col de Bleine to St Andre les Alpes.
I worked every piece of lift on the way; if I arrived too low I would miss the climbs have to run towards the valley to avoid being caught in the shallow tree-covered slopes below.
This is where the EN A has strength. Not being a huge aspecty beast it can turn tightly and you can throw a 360 in a surprisingly small amount of space, making the most of any windblown cores. Thankfully I was soon in a more windward area where it was easier to maintain, but still the climbs just weren’t coming through.
By now I had been joined by a couple of other pilots. They pushed round the corner, where in theory there should be lee climbs. I hung back – without lift it would be impossible to return and the fields below often claim their fair share of early landers.
But while one sank out, seemingly towards an early bath, the other managed to maintain and was working some scrappy lift. When the lower pilot started to circle and climb out it was time to go!
The full article is in Cross Country 156.
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